Animal-assisted therapy is nothing new, though largely unheard of. Used for varying therapies, from in prisons to deal with aggression to nursing homes to deal with isolation, or, as I have found most handy, to help with depression, the unconditional love of an animal can be a wonderfully soothing thing. Here are seven reasons why you should consider getting a fluffy animal this Christmas:
It was she who encouraged me to leave my dead-end job with no regrets and launch a media consultancy business from the kitchen table, join a gym and pump iron, write a book and two screenplays at exactly the same time with only vague notions about plot, indulge in a series of ineffectual health food fads and therapists...
In a city where people are seemingly becoming busier and busier by the minute, do you ever wonder how others around you are managing work and life? Are you rushed in to making decisions on the spot, unable to focus or have a huge mental block that is stopping you from progressing? If so, then read on.
It's such a shame that it takes the death of a hugely famous actor/comedian to get the conversation happening to such a level. However, if we must find a positive from this tragic tale, the exposure of his struggles may leave some people with a greater understanding of the illness, and those who are masking their troubles may be encouraged to talk.
One Facebook status that alarmed me greatly. "If Robin Williams, with all the money and resources he had at his disposal, wasn't able to recover from depression, then what hope do I have?" ... I'm going to give you five reasons why you CAN recover from depression, even though Robin Williams sadly didn't.
Something so harrowing happened today that I can't get it off my mind. I took the children to watch the Tour de France come tearing through the tiny country lanes in a neighbouring village and I ended up comforting a woman as she watched her husband slipping away before her very eyes. I just can't comprehend what she must be feeling right now.
In the beginning things were fine, we lived in tribes with family members. We all shared the same genes so we trusted and protected each other. The bad news about this is the bit about all being related which caused infinite mutations; some of our cousins had more fingers than needed, others had their feet growing backwards.
The experience of not feeling understood, or feeling misunderstood in therapy is not uncommon. It may be felt in the first or early sessions or later on. Sometimes we may find that we are not well matched with our therapist or counsellor and that the chemistry is not working. But before settling for that explanation it might be worth considering some other possibilities.
I woke up this morning with that agony that fills your body when you're deep in the depths of despair. There are people who think emotional pain isn't as bad as physical pain but here's the rub, there's empirical evidence that physical pain and emotional pain are registered in the exact same region of the brain.
There is no woman out there who has gone through the life changing and shit scary ordeal of bringing a tiny human, kicking and screaming into the world that can hand on heart say they have not thought at least once that they are losing their mind whether it be the result of one of "those" days or the early signs of post natal illness.
I keep collapsing into a ball of tears, mourning my father's departure (as far as euphemisms for death go, that one is bearable, don't you think?) back in September. It was followed swiftly by that of a close friend, Kate, an accomplished artist whose personal kindnesses to me had, over the years, become impossible to keep count of.
Seeing a therapist means that you are actually the sort of person who is willing to strive hard to be the best person you can be. People who make the effort to change are much more laudable than those who steadfastly refuse to address their issues, or who go through life content to be miserable and spread that misery to everyone they come into contact with.
The cold weather that meant you had to change into a warmer coat, which then made you late. And who knows what this little delay in your schedule caused you to miss, maybe a bad bout of traffic, maybe an accident? Perhaps as the result of this you met a lady at the bus stop who you wouldn't usually see. Maybe she inspired you?
Celebrating a life can lighten the pain of loss - sharing special moments of meaning, private and public. Mixing numbness, heart break, tears of pain and the longing to hold, talk, see, hear the other just on more time with pride, joy and gratitude for what we have experienced with and because of the other, who has gone.